European Commission > JRC > IHCP > Our Activities > Nanotechnology > Nano & Chemical Substances
Personal tools

Nano & Chemical Substances

DSC_5587.jpg 
Nanotoxicology study: cell culture in petri-dishes for colony forming efficiency assays The safety of chemical substances is covered by the REACH legislation (EU Regulation on chemicals and their safe use) which came into force in 2007. This legislation has extensive information obligations for chemicals, particularly on the hazards that they pose to human health and the environment.

Nanomaterials are regulated under REACH because they fall under its definition of a chemical "substance". The general obligations of the legislation therefore apply as for any other substance and there are no provisions referring explicitly to nanomaterials.

Hundreds of products containing nanomaterials are already in use. Examples are batteries, coatings, anti-bacterial clothing etc. Nanomaterials have the potential to improve the quality of life and to contribute to industrial competitiveness in Europe.

However, the new materials may also pose risks to the environment and raise health and safety concerns. These risks, and to what extent they can be tackled by the existing risk assessment measures in the EU, have been subject to several opinions from the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR).

The overall conclusion so far is that, even though nanomaterials are not per se dangerous, there still is scientific uncertainty about the safety of nanomaterials in many aspects and therefore the safety assessment of the substances must be done on a case-by-case basis.

Test methods

A project on "Scientific technical support on nanomaterials" (RIPoNs) was launched in January 2010 by the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) together with the European Commission (Directorate-General for Environment, Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Together they are developing scientific advice on how to fulfil the information requirements for nanomaterials specified under the European chemicals legislation.

The test methods to be used for nanomaterials have been assessed by the Institute and its conclusions have been taken up and published by the OECD (‘Guidance Manual for the Testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials’). This will help ensure that the information collected from testing programmes is reliable, accurate and consistent.

Registration and labelling

The first registration deadline under REACH (30 November 2010) applies to substances manufactured or imported at a level of 1,000 tonnes or more per year. Registrations of nanomaterials in this tonnage band will help to generate more information useful for the assessment of risks. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) receives the registrations and the Agency plays a central role in the collection, evaluation and dissemination of information on substances and preparations, including nanomaterials.

Nanomaterials that are classified as hazardous under EU Regulations must be classified and labelled. Many of the related provisions, including safety data sheets and classification and labelling apply already today, independently of the tonnage in which the substances are manufactured or imported. Substances, including nanomaterials, meeting the classification criteria as hazardous must be notified to ECHA by 3 January 2011.

 

Document Actions
News: Highlights
New JRC report discusses labelling and reporting schemes for nanomaterials in consumer products in the EU
New JRC report discusses labelling and reporting schemes for nanomaterials in consumer products in the EU - May 19, 2014

JRC experts provide an overview on how EU legislation addresses nanomaterials, and recapitulate issues relevant for the on-going discussion on transparency and requests for more information regarding the use of nanomaterials in consumer products

Nanotechnology
Nanoparticle radiolabelling: Joint Research Centre contributes to QualityNano project providing "transnational access" to MC40 Cyclotron
Nanoparticle radiolabelling: Joint Research Centre contributes to QualityNano project providing "transnational access" to MC40 Cyclotron - Jun 06, 2013

Studies on plant uptake with radioactive nanoparticles

Nanoparticles
JRC scientists contribute to the synthesis of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols for rodent inhalation and translocation studies
JRC scientists contribute to the synthesis of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols for rodent inhalation and translocation studies - Mar 28, 2013

The paper deals with the production of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols by spark ignition ...

Nanotechnology
JRC scientists introduce "representative test materials"
JRC scientists introduce "representative test materials" - Mar 21, 2013

The term became necessary for establishing temporary benchmarks for measurements of new material ...

Nanomaterials
Flame retardant materials: JRC-IHCP is partner of the 3-year FP7 project DEROCA
Flame retardant materials: JRC-IHCP is partner of the 3-year FP7 project DEROCA - Feb 14, 2013

Development of safer and more Eco-friendly flame Retardant materials based on CNT co-additives for ...

Nanotechnology
see all
News: Publications
Updated list of materials in the JRC Nanomaterials Repository - Oct 27, 2011
see all
News: Multimedia
Watch our videoclip "Small materials, big impact" - Oct 17, 2011
see all
Deliverables: Reports
JRC Technical Report and Presentations: Symposium 'Safety issues and regulatory challenges of nanomaterials', May 2012 - Feb 02, 2013 - Jan 02, 2013
JRC report " Requirements on measurements for the implementation of the European Commission definition of the term 'nanomaterial'" - Sep 17, 2012
Joint JRC-EASAC Report "Impact of engineered nanomaterials on health: considerations for benefit-risk assessment" - Oct 18, 2011
Summary Report - Joint JRC Nano Event and 2nd ENPRA Stakeholders Workshop 2011 - Jan 10, 2011
JRC Reference Report: 'Considerations on a definition of nanomaterial for regulatory purposes' - Jul 23, 2010
see all
Related Areas
Nanotechnology
Watch our video "Small materials, big impact"
 

The video, issued in October 2011, illustrates JRC activities in support to safety assessment of nanomaterials in consumer products.

Watch it on You Tube, JRC channel